Toyota's new Corolla: No longer the king of the hill

I had hopes that the world's most popular car would, once again, be something great. Sorry, but it's not.

Fancy transmission

toyota corolla 5

While it's a bit nicer to drive than the last version, let's not kid anybody: no one is going to wake up in the morning, itching go out driving their Corolla. It's not that kind of car.

Corolla drivers will appreciate the smooth and reasonably decent acceleration provided by the 132 horsepower engine and continuously variable transmission. It's kind of an interesting transmission, too, because it's programmed to act like it has seven set speeds.

That's means it doesn't have the annoying tendency CVTs usually have to make the engine whine at a single constant speed while accelerating. They're very efficient but they can make almost any engine sound like it's going to blow itself to into a pile of paperweights.

In this car, engine speed rises and falls again and again as you accelerate, the way you'd expect in any other car. It sounds more normal and it just sounds better.

- Last updated March 19 2014 11:58 AM ET
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